Photo courtesy DANIELLA SEGURA/Yakima Herald-Republic.
Author Kizzie Jones sent along this photo from the Dachshunds on Parade event in Ellensburg. Jones not only visited the tiny burg in Central Washington, she is also on the road (via airplane) this week to New York City to accept awards on behalf of her book, "How Dachshunds Came to Be..." See the full story in , and send Jones lots of good wishes as her book builds momentum!



Winner Donna Warren (photo by Yoojin Song).
The public is invited to party on Thurs., June 20, from 7-8 p.m. at Red Petal Cakes in Edmonds in celebration of our inaugural writing contest winners!



From :

Donna Warren’s entry, “The Red Pig,” took first place in EPIC’s inaugural writing contest. Warren, along with fellow winners in the Adult and Youth categories, will be honored at a party and reading at on June 20, from 7-8 p.m.

The Adult winners are as follows: First Place went to Donna Warren for “The Red Pig”; Second: Victoria Peters for “Kaidja”; Third: Susan Ferguson for “Citizen’s League”; Honorable Mention:  Jeanne Gerhard for “Inspiration.” In the Youth category, First Place went to Ailish Mackey for “Behind Those Glasses”; Second: Kunjan Chadha for “Mother”; Third to Lauren Mallory for “An Overweight Girl in a Dressing Room”; and Honorable Mention (tie) to Angela Lee for “Las Vegas” and Ethan Brown for “To Kill Intolerance.”

The contest was led by EPIC’s Dianne O’Connell, Sheri LaVay, and . When Jones was asked about the entries, she said, “I was surprised with the intensity of feelings and the grappling with harsh realities of life, which were much more evident than expected in the youth writings.”

O’Connell was struck by the opening line in “An Overweight Girl in a Dressing Room”: “A lonesome dove in a two-ton beast.” “It speaks for every girl of any age who has ever been told or who believes she is too fat,” said O’Connell. She was also “surprised and pleased at the number of Youth Division entries received. If we can continue to support and encourage young writers and poets, I think we will have done a very good thing.”

According to Jones, “The annual fall Write on the Sound set the stage for a strong writing community in Edmonds. The formation of EPIC cultivates a climate all year long to benefit those who desire to come together and support one another in the craft of writing. What once might have been considered a solitary endeavor has been reinvented into a community of those who write and encourage and inspire others to write.”

Contest leader LaVay summed up the value of writing: “Remember, you don’t have to be a published author to be a writer. Writing is simply good for the soul and many times is soul-saving.”

An e-book featuring the winning compositions is set to be released in time for the June 20 party. For more information on the event and the local writing community, see . (Cover photo All Rights Reserved for photographer Sienna Votry 2013).

Editor's note: The EPIC Group Winners e-book anthology is

Winner Donna Warren (photo courtesy Yoojin Song).


Edmonds-Woodway High School instructor Nancy Branom sent a sweet card to EPIC's Sheri Lavay -- and we just want to send the thanks back a thousand fold! Thank you, Nancy, for encouraging your awesome students to enter EPIC's inaugural writing contest. We look forward to meeting you and the students at the June 20 reading at Red Petal.

Thank you,
--Janette, on behalf of EPIC



Kim Pearson; photo courtesy Kizzie Jones.
“I can be anybody,” said Kim Pearson today, in her talk, “What a Ghostwriter Does and How She Does It.” As a ghostwriter, Pearson has is a “writer, bartender, therapist, and actor on the page, not the stage.” She takes an interesting concept, say, one on following through on psychic hunches, and turns it into a finished book in nine months. “About the time it takes to gestate a baby.”

She spends a great deal of time listening to her clients, who often come from her industry connections. Her questions narrow down the market and the real reason why the topic is important to the client. Pearson tapes her conversations, which are then transcribed. Payment is one-third at the start, one-third at the halfway mark, and one-third on completion. Freelance ghostwriters generally make $10,000 to $100,000 per project, but average at $37,000.

Pearson’s career began when she wrote down her grandmother’s life story, and a friend’s daughter wanted the same sort of help with her own family history. Afterward, Pearson went to small businesses and offered to write their history, provided she could use their work for promotion. That was critical because most paying clients demand secrecy, along with the copyright. Pearson happily provides both.

For more information, you can follow .




Hanna Aasvik Helmersen
From My Edmonds News: “We fled forty-one times,” said Hanna Aasvik Helmersen, today’s speaker at EPIC Group Writers in the Edmonds Library. Helmerson’s talk touched on her Norwegian childhood as a refugee under Nazi occupation, which she documented in her nonfiction book, “War and Innocence: A Young Girl’s Life in Occupied Norway (1940-1945).”

Helmersen’s book chronicles the Nazi arrival into her family’s town of Narvik in Northern Norway, beyond the Arctic Circle. Narvik was a strategic choice because high-grade iron ore could be exported easily to serve the Nazi war machine. Once Nazis were on Norwegian soil, Helmersen and several siblings fled with their mother, not knowing if they would see the family patriarch or eldest daughter again. At one point, Kirsten, the youngest girl, was lost, but neighbors looked out for one another, sharing shelter and food, until the family was reunited.

Those same neighbors made up part of the resistance movement, which destroyed lists of young Norwegian males so they could not be conscripted, and also sabotaged fuel sources and ridiculed Germans via the newspaper’s hidden jokes. Throughout the war, young Helmersen suffered food shortages and the imposition of Germans living under the family roof, while still managing to attend school and thrive as a student, even winning a poetry competition.

Today Helmersen said she has a limited number of books left for sale, and she hopes to educate more Americans about the price Norwegians paid in World War II. For more information on Helmersen’s book, see , and to learn more about EPIC’s speakers and writing group, see the

--By Janette Turner



Barbara Kindness spoke today at EPIC writing group on “Pitfalls, Promises, Purpose: Becoming a Successful Author in Today’s Marketplace.” To be successful, she advised would-be authors to set goals, and avoid listening to well-meaning outsiders, including editors who do not understand the writer's' “voice.” She also recommended avoiding CreateSpace’s print-on-demand service because there are better options, such as these:

Book Publishers Network, Sheryn Hara, email: sherynhara@earthlink.net  425-483-3040, by appt. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, complimentary consultation. Idyll Arbor Press, Tom Blaschko, email: tom@idyllarbor.com 360-825-7797(small independent publisher in Enumclaw). SuperCharge Marketing (for social media) Matt Cail, email: supercharge11@gmail.com 425-247-1870, by appt. for complimentary consultation.

And Kindness provided this notice inviting contributions for her upcoming nonfiction compilation, The Day We Said ‘I Do’:


A new nonfiction book by Edmonds writer Barbara Kindness invites married and formerly married men and women to recall their wedding day and write a paragraph or two about anything that in particular stands out in their memory. The Day We Said ‘I Do,’ will include anecdotes -- from funny to sad to embarrassing to poignant.

One couple, for example, remembers looking on in horror during their reception as, in 100-degrees-plus temperature, their wedding cake started imitating the Tower of Pisa. Another remembers a cousin wearing a very tight red dress who made a valiant, but off-key, attempt to sing a love song nightclub-style during the ceremony while guests squirmed in the church pews.

On my wedding day,” recalls Kindness, “the best man gave me a ride to the church but in his haste he had forgotten one thing: During the ceremony, I glanced down at his feet, and he was still wearing his bedroom slippers!”

“And, I still chuckle at my wedding pictures,” she adds. “I too was married on a very hot day – the hottest in Virginia in many years – and the wedding guests, to quench their thirst, drank gin and tonics as if they were lemonade. No one in the photos is standing upright – they are either leaning on someone or something!”

Everyone has a memory and readers are encouraged to submit their story. Entries will be anonymous, if desired, and a pseudonym used. Those selected for publication will receive a complimentary copy of the book upon publication. Send to: Barbara Kindness Communications, PO Box 1754, Edmonds, WA  98020, or e-mail barbkindness@gmail.com.



Barbara Kindness
From My Edmonds News:

Edmonds resident will speak Monday, 11 a.m., at the Edmonds Library. Her talk, “Pitfalls, Promises, Purpose: Becoming a Successful Author in Today’s Marketplace,” will feature tips from her career as a publicist, editor and writer.

As publicist for Olympic skater Rosalynn Sumners, Kindness arranged national media interviews, and wrote an article for TEEN magazine. Today, Kindness serves as publicity coordinator for Sno-King Community Chorale and the annual DeMiero Jazz Festival, and books speakers, prepares media kits for authors and artists, and is an editor and book doctor for fiction and nonfiction work. She coauthored an autobiography of a Hall of Fame basketball coach in “My Impossible Dream – The Story of Chuck Randall.”

Kindness was former president of Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society (South Snohomish County unit), Stevens Hospital Foundation, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Seattle, Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission, and Lake Forest Park Rotary. Among many distinctions, she was the first woman inducted into Edmonds Rotary (1987).

The public is invited to this free event, although seating is limited. For more information, see the EPIC Group Writers website.



Flowers from the EPIC Publishing Group for leader Janette.
In four sessions this spring, folks in the EPIC Publishing Group became published writers. Now you have the chance to read these fresh stories at no charge:

Sophie Cay's "." 

Victoria Peters's "."

Ed Davis's ""

Ingrid Andersen's "."

Janette's excerpt from "."

Donna Warren's website at , and her story, .

Author Chuck Woodbury in his RV.
Author, editor and publisher Chuck Woodbury of Edmonds will speak May 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Plaza Room of the Edmonds Library. In his program "A Writing Life on the Road," Woodbury will tell how he went from a struggling freelance writer to a national celebrity nearly overnight after embarking on a career as a roving travel writer.

In 1985, Woodbury set off in an 18-foot motorhome to explore America and write magazine articles about who he met and what he found. His RV, he notes today, "broke down nearly every trip and leaked when it rained." Still, he was able to earn enough to pay for repairs, buy gas and keep going.

In 1988, on a whim, he published a 24-page tabloid newspaper he called Out West, which he billed as "American's on-the-road newspaper." The media got wind of the folksy periodical and soon Woodbury found himself in its spotlight. In the next few years he appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the Today Show, CNN and in hundreds of periodicals including USA Today, the Washington Post and People Magazine. "Hardly a day passed that I didn't do a phone interview with a radio talk show," he said. One appearance on National Public Radio brought in $50,000 in subscriptions.

After his appearance on ABC-TV, he landed a book deal with William Morrow that resulted in the "Best from Out West" and he was signed by the New York Times Syndicate, which distributed his stories to newspapers around the world.

Out West continued for 10 years until, said Woodbury, "it ran its course." About the same time, the World Wide Web was catching on. "I knew it was going to be big," he said, "so I bought a bunch of domains related to RVing." Today, more than 200,000 RVers a month read his websites and daily newsletters. Woodbury continues to travel by RV, logging about 12,000 miles a year gathering stories and, nowadays, making videos for his YouTube channel. He occasionally wanders aboard, most recently touring Iceland in a small camper van.

"My dream beginning in college was to combine travel and writing," he said. "I loved the idea of travel with a motorhome, which to me was simply a small home and office that moved. When I look back now, after 30 years on the road and millions of words written, I realize I carved out a wonderful life for myself. I could have never imagined how everything would play out when I began with a manual typewriter, a portable darkroom and tiny, mechanically-challenged motorhome, hoping only to somehow pay my bills."

Woodbury's hour-long talk will chronicle his three decades of "on-the-road" journalism through words and photos beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Plaza Room of the Edmonds Library. The 90-minute event is part of the Edmonds Literary Series. Admission is free.